Caring in company: a pre-Covid snapshot of day centres in south London 

Dr Caroline Green and Dr Katharine Orellana are Post-Doctoral Fellows, National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration South London. (346 words)

Day centres can be a lifeline for some people. Day centres offer activities, meals and a place to connect with others. At the ARC South London, we wanted to find out more about what kinds of day centres are on offer in this part of London and how they operate. We searched the internet for day centres for older people, people living with dementia, people with disabilities and long-term conditions or palliative care needs and people experiencing homelessness across four boroughs of south London.

Our key findings were the following:

  • It was really difficult to find information on day centres even when online (e.g. Google) and in local directories and on social prescribing websites or databases. Information about day services for older people and people living with dementia seemed the hardest to find.
  • Some online information about day services is out of date (sometimes a day centre has closed), and important details are not always available. Fewer than half the websites we investigated specified day centre aims so readers are not able to see what they offer. Many websites did not explain what people would need to do to start using a centre, or provide information about how many people could attend, what charges would be made, or if the building is suitable for people with physical disabilities.
  • Information needs to be more accessible. Potential service users, their carers, and potential volunteers, need to be able to find and use information on day services. New funding is available to employ social prescribers, but they and other link workers need accurate information about local services fi they are to ‘prescribe’ social activities to the right people in the right places. Those supporting students (e.g. studying social work, social care and occupational therapy) looking for placements need accurate information about local services that may be able to help develop the skills of the next generations of health and social care workers

The full report of our mapping is here: Caring in company: a pre-Covid Snapshot of day centres in south London

See more about our work on the Social Care Theme in ARC South London

Please send any feedback or comments to: Katharine.Orellana@kcl.ac.uk.

This project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration South London (NIHR ARC South London) at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

Next steps for day centres in south London as they reset, rebuild and renew from the COVID-19 pandemic

Kritika Samsi

Dr Kritika Samsi

Jill Manthorpe

Prof Jill Manthorpe

Kritika Samsi is Research Fellow at the NIHR  Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce. Jill Manthorpe is Director of the Unit and Professor of Social Work at King’s College London. (1,013 words)

People working in the ARC South London Social Care theme contributed to the first thematic symposium (a webinar meeting) on 17 February 2021, that had the title Inside research: How applied research is tackling health and social care challenges and inequalities in south London – seminar series. The overall theme was Responding to Covid-19 pandemic. We focussed on how we have been Helping adult day centres to ‘unlock’ lockdown. Jill Manthorpe and Rekha Elaswarapu described this with illustrations of the different day centres across South London and some feedback on how our guidance was developed as a unique resource. We then took part in three small groups to discuss the following questions, with Caroline Green, Kritika Samsi and Katharine Orellana also helping with these discussions:

  • How are day centres recovering? What helps?
    – Is it likely that some may never re-open?
    – Do you have any experience or sense of how day centres have coped with the pandemic?

Continue reading

Resource for day centres – Guide for adult day centres to ‘unlock lockdown’ safely

Caroline Green and Katharine Orellana, Post-Doctoral Fellows, National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration South London. (721 words)

On 23 March 2020, most of England’s population was placed into ‘lockdown’ due to the novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic taking hold across the UK. This was an unprecedented move by the government and meant that social care services, including day centres for older people or those with social care needs mostly closed to regular users.

Several months later, the government is taking a step-by-step approach to ‘unlocking’ society, with social clubs and community centres allowed to open again from 4 July 2020. But, with the pandemic not yet subsided, day centres are faced with the task of making their services safe and reducing the risks of infections to service users and staff. This is particularly important for day centres, as they may serve groups of people at risk of being seriously affected by the virus, such as people with underlying health conditions. Continue reading